Thursday, September 20, 2018

Why I Still Care About Calvinism

About four years ago, I wrote on why I care about Calvinism. A lot has changed in those four years, but there's one thing that hasn't: I still think that Calvinism is absolutely poisonous to the body of Christ and to individual believers.

The other night, I talked for nearly 3 hours with a friend who's been struggling with Calvinism for years, and it left me shaken. It left me angry. It left me incredibly sad. And it left me wanting to write.

I still care about Calvinism because my friend, who's worked with youth for years, struggled to answer whether God loves and wants to save each one of the kids they work with, and that struggle tears my friend apart sometimes.

I still care about Calvinism because my friend confessed, in tears, that they wonder whether they love the kids they work with more than God loves those kids: Because if any of them are unelect, that means that while my friend is actively working towards their salvation and earnestly desires for them to be saved, God does not desire their salvation and has in fact already irresistibly and irrevocably damned them to hell.

I still care about Calvinism because it makes good, godly Christians wonder whether God's goodness is really what we would consider goodness at all, whether his love bears any similarity to our love, and whether God really means it when he commands us not to sin (after all, he orchestrates the sins he commands us not to commit!).

I still care. It's still personal. Calvinism still poisons people.

One thing I want to end on. My friend said that they wished they could just be Arminian (or at least non-Calvinist), that they could just easily say "YES! God loves each one of the kids I work with and actively works towards their salvation every single day!" But he can't do that, and a big reason is that would mean at the end of the day, God doesn't ultimately get his way, and that's too big of a sacrifice.

That honestly boggles my mind. Because to me, that's an incredibly tiny sacrifice compared to the enormous, world-ending sacrifice of saying that each and every time I sin, that IS God "getting his way." That when I pass up an opportunity to witness to someone, that's God getting his way. That when someone experiences pain and hypocrisy that pushes them to reject God, that's God getting his way. 

THAT is too big a sacrifice. I can't take a God who limits his love for the sake of his power. I can't reconcile that with the God who gave up his power so that he could be wrapped in swaddling clothes, sweat blood, be nailed to a cross, so that he could love the world and draw all people to himself. I can't reconcile that with Jesus.

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